Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union
After falling 4-1 to New York at home over the weekend, the Crew will look to rebound against a winless Philadelphia Union side Saturday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love.
Peter Nowak's squad has had its fair share of drama so far in 2012, both on and off the field.
First, Philadelphia parted ways with veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon as the Colombian chose to return to his homeland to play for Deportivo Cali due to family reasons on January 30. Mondragon has been replaced by second-year 'keeper Zac MacMath. The Maryland product has struggled this season, saving only 56% of opponents shots on goal- the worst in Major League Soccer.
In the day following Mondragon's release, the Union traded its most potent goal scoring threat Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver Whitecaps FC for allocation money. The move left many in the soccer world scratching their heads as Le Toux accounted for 57% of Philadelphia's points, supplying franchise records in goals (25) and assists (20) over two seasons.
Then, in the Union's home opener, Captain Danny Califf was left out of the Union's lineup because Nowak claimed he was recovering from knee surgery. Califf told the media after the match that he was fine when asked after the match, creating a rift between the Union captain and his skipper. Califf and Nowak have since cleared the air, with Califf playing in Philadelphia's most recent match, a 0-0 draw with Vancouver on March 31.
Califf was joined in the lineup by the return of United States U23 right back Sheanon Williams from CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. Williams' US U23 and Union teammate Freddy Adu did not see action, but could return to action this weekend.
The Crew will have to wait and find out Saturday afternoon as Columbus makes its NBC Sports Network debut with a 3:30PM kickoff from PPL Park.
WARZYCHA PLAYS DOWN FACING FELLOW COUNTRYMAN
Robert Warzycha and Peter Nowak share a common bond as the only two coaches in MLS history to hail from Poland. The two spent time together with the Polish national team in the early 1990s.
Both coaches took similar paths to America, working their ways up through domestic sides in Poland, then playing at bigger clubs in other European top-flights before ending their careers in MLS.
Though Warzycha looks forward to seeing his former Polish national team teammate and friend, he says Saturday's matchup is just another game.
"I'm not coaching against Peter Nowak," Warzycha said following training on Tuesday. "A friend of mine is coaching (Philadelphia's) team. As somebody said, 'You better win against your friends.' So that's what I'm tying to do."